The death penalty or life imprisonment?; Tsarnaev conviction leads to debate, but no easy answers.

Author:Semon, Craig S.
Position::Local
 
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Byline: Craig S. Semon

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, founder of Saints Francis & Therese Catholic Worker in Worcester, trekked to Boston twice during the Boston Marathon bombing trial, to hold a vigil against the death penalty outside the courthouse.

He wore his marathon shirt and all his Boston medals. Mr. Schaeffer-Duffy has run the Boston Marathon for the last three years. On April 15, 2013, he crossed the finish line five minutes before the first bomb exploded.

"My son, he ran me in. He did the last 2 miles with me,'' Mr. Schaeffer-Duffy said. "We crossed the line. We had our picture taken. We heard the first bomb. I turned around and I saw the second one.''

Today, carrying a sign that reads "Always be merciful'' (a quote from St. Francis of Assisi), Mr. Schaeffer-Duffy has two arguments against the death penalty now that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been found guilty of 30 federal counts against him -- 17 of which are death penalty offenses.

"I'm a Christian pacifist. So I'm against all killing. And it doesn't matter what circumstance it is. I'm against it,'' Mr. Schaeffer-Duffy said. "The other argument, which I think is broader and more important, and one I hope the jury will consider, is Gandhi's argument that 'An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.' And his position was not just that killing is morally wrong but that it was counterproductive. And this is something I think we want to consider because almost every conflict I've been involved in and seen, there is always something ... before it. It just goes on with each particular group justifying something horrific on the basis of something else horrific.''

Mr. Schaeffer-Duffy also believes violent retaliation has made it more dangerous for American citizens here and abroad.

"We're in a real downward spiral since we started fighting wars again after Vietnam, because we went from Granada to Panama to Libya to Iraq. Pope John Paul said killing in the Middle East would be useless slaughter and, wow, now 1.3 million are dead and things are worse, considerably worse,'' Mr. Schaeffer-Duffy said.

"And, even more upsetting for me, as an American who travels and likes to travel, is the standing of Americans is harmed all over the world.''

Mr. Schaeffer-Duffy said the American people by no means are softening their abhorrence to what happened on Patriot's Day two years ago by not adding another casualty to death row.

"The question I think people should ask is not (whether) what this young man did...

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